ALBANY — Dwayne Killings addressed reporters Tuesday for the first time since the UAlbany men’s basketball head coach pleaded not guilty to an assault charge a day earlier, declining to make any comments about the case.
“I know everybody has a job to do,” Killings said, “but I will not be making any comments about the ongoing legal situation.”
Killings was arraigned virtually Monday in Madison County (Ky.) District Court on a charge of 4th degree assault with no visible injury, a Class A misdemeanor.
The charge stems from the locker room incident prior to a Nov. 24, 2021 game at Eastern Kentucky University that led to Killings serving a five-game suspension earlier this season.
UAlbany officials received a complaint that incident on Feb. 27 of last year and launched an investigation that substantiated, “inappropriate physical contact between Coach Killings and a student-athlete” in a pre-game hype circle. The university’s investigation resulted in Killings being ordered to serve a five-game suspension during the 2022-23 season and pay a $25,000 fine in the form of donations to local not-for-profit organizations.
The player involved in the incident, Luke Fizulich, also filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of New York in November against Killings, UAlbany athletic director Mark Benson and the university.
According to a text message from Killings’ attorney, Christopher Spedding, the criminal case will be revisited on March 20, nine days after the conclusion of the America East tournament.
On Tuesday, Killings said he did not believe the legal matter will be a distraction for himself or his team, which sits at 6-15 overall and 1-5 in America East play heading into Wednesday’s 7 p.m. game at New Hampshire.
“My only focus for these guys is giving them everything that I have to make them better players, better students and better men,” Killings said. “And that’s it. . . . It’s about them, it’s not about anything else. Anybody that focuses on anything beyond these kids, I don’t think that’s what college basketball and college athletics is about.”
Great Danes graduate student guard Da’Kquan Davis echoed the sentiment that the team remains focused on basketball and reversing its run of struggles.
“We’ve been doing a good job leaving outside things outside,” Davis said, “and pretty much focusing on the team, because that’s what’s important right now.”